The East India Company has sought to profit from its historic connection with the invention of the gin and tonic by launching its own brand of London dry gin.

The four centuries-old brand, famous for bringing premium teas, and fine food offerings to the world, plays a key role in the history of gin, with the gin and tonic cocktail reputed to have been invented by the officers in the company in the 1800s.

In India, malaria was a persistent problem. In the 1700s it was found that quinine could be used to treat the disease, however the taste was unpleasantly bitter. British officers took to adding a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the quinine to make it more palatable.

The launch of The East India Company London Dry Gin has been orchestrated by chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta, who, since taking ownership in 2005, has sought to rejuvenate The East India Company by creating new luxury products for the contemporary world, and seeks to harness the company’s 400 years of expertise in trading botanicals and rare exotic goods, a statement said.

“When I took the helm, I set about reawakening a once powerful brand that had lain dormant for 161 years and making it great again,” Sanjiv Mehta commented.

“For more than 400 years, The East India Company has held a remarkable connection with people all over the world and its influence can be seen throughout English-speaking society. My vision for it today is one of a contemporary business developing high-quality luxury products, including a super-premium spirit.”

Esther Canibano Garcia, marketing director for the brand, added: “We have embarked on this journey with a super-premium London Dry Gin – a spirit sitting at the core of our heritage of global trading in the finest botanicals and spices.

“The East India Company, from its inception over 400 years ago, exemplified and evolved, not only the flavour of London Dry Gin but was also fundamental in the creation of the ubiquitous gin and tonic.”

The development of the brand’s first spirit has been in planning since 2007, during which the gin team conducted extensive research, trawling the East India Company’s own company records and the vast archives held in the British Library, Kew Gardens, Maritime Museum and the V&A Museum, to source information that would inform the recipe for the new gin. This was followed by months of intensive blend and flavour experimentation to create the liquid.

The East India Company London Dry Gin launches this month in a selection of bars, hotels and restaurants, including City Social and Novikov in London, and Gleneagles and The Finnieston in Scotland. No word yet on travel retail placements but we will keep you posted.